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Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Every Hidden Thing (edition 2017)

by Kenneth Oppel (Author)

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1083172,964 (4)5
In the late nineteenth century, a budding romance develops between Rachel and Samuel, two teenagers from rival families of fossil hunters heading out to the badlands in seach of a rare dinosaur skeleton.
Title:Every Hidden Thing
Authors:Kenneth Oppel (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2017), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Book Hunters
Tags:young adult, historical fiction, romantic, suspenseful, multiple perspectives, Paleontology, dinosaurs, 19th century, Badlands Region, Fossils

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Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel



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With the Westward Expansion of the 1800’s came land grabbing and Native American battles, along with the discovery of dinosaur bones buried in rock. At that time the study of dinosaurs was relatively new, with fame and bragging rights associated with their unearthing. The intense rivalry by paleontologists Edward Drinker [Drinkwater] Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, to find the biggest and best of these bones and claim them as their own, became known as the “Bone Wars.”

Using these real life occurrences as background for his historical novel, Oppel introduces readers to Professors Bolt and Cartland. After being sent fossils from the largest dinosaur he’d ever seen, Professor Bolt and his son Samuel travel west to find the “Rex,”. Unbeknownst to him Professor Cartland and his daughter Rachel were on the same train, also seeking the Rex.

While engaging in regular conversation as a way to spy for their fathers, Samuel and Rachel fall in love. However, with the competition between their fathers heating up as each gets closer to discovering the Rex’s location, Rachel and Samuel’s love will be tested in ways neither had ever expected.

I really enjoyed learning about these paleontologists, as I had never known fossil hunting happened during the Westward Expansion. Besides the rivalry of two historical paleontologists, Oppel’s carefully researched novel also includes the impact of the expansion on the lives of the Sioux Indians and how some reacted. Though billed as a Romeo and Juliet type novel, “Every hidden thing” is much more. It is history come to life.

Highly recommended for ages 14 and older.

Book review link: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/every-hidden-thing-kenneth-o... ( )
  sunshinealma | Feb 17, 2017 |
Received via Harper Collins Canada's First Look Program(#HCCFirstLook) in exchange for an completely unbiased review.
Also posted on Silk & Serif

Every Hidden Thing is another book with a summary that doesn’t really do the story justice. I was expecting a novel that was very different from the one I got. I really can’t complain that this novel’s summary led me astray because the actual book was so much better than expected!

The novel opens with an intense fight between the fathers of main characters over the correct placement of a set of vertebra (or is it actually tail bones?) on a plesiosaurs. Thus begins the very public and disruptive competition between two very different men that spills over into their children. The competition inevitably causes Rachel and Samuel to come together and bond over their life passions: dinosaurs. While searching for the T-rex the two main characters share stories develop a very real connection, all the while hiding their new found romance from their squabbling fathers.

Every Hidden Thing is a novel about growing up, independence, competition and over coming the odds. Although this is a novel about first love, it is also a deeper tale of capturing opportunities. It's about following one's heart as well as chasing one's dreams.

My general feeling about this novel in a meme.

I loved that this book featured archaeology. Seriously, the writing of novels featuring archeology with a profound and realistic story arch is so very rare. Oppel has written a novel that is not only well written and well researched, but it is enjoyable without the necessity of an out-landish plot and dramatic fire fights. Every Hidden Thing draws it’s tension and drama from the characters themselves to develop a wonderfully developed set of interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles. The foundation may be in the search for the illustrious T-rex, but this novel's intensity comes from masterfully developed characters.

Every Hidden Thing is a well written piece of literature with a wonderfully unique plot. The historical adventure alone was beautifully done - regardless of the complex character interactions and adorable romance.

My only concern during this novel was keeping tabs on which character’s head I was currently in. Unfortunately in the ARC copy of the book I found that the fonts chosen might have been too similar for me to full differentiate between characters and lead me to become confused as to whether I was in Samuel or Rachel's head. The ingenuity of head skipping on this level kept me enthralled throughout the book, keeping me hooked until the very last page regardless of how confusing the changes often proved to be.

It was Indiana Jones if he and his rival had children.

This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, adventure, archeology and romance. I would definitely suggest this read for older teens or adults who enjoy YA/NA novels due to the fact the story spans several years. I would definitely suggest this to archeological adventure movie fans or fans of young adult novels with unique plots.

( )
  trigstarom | Dec 24, 2016 |
Two paleontologists, both alike in snobbery, in the dangerous badlands where we lay our scene.
From forth the prideful loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers...

Well, I don't want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say, I really liked this story about Rachel Cartland and Sam Bolt, the offspring of the dueling scientists, and their adventures in the unsettled territories of the American West, on a quest to find the greatest dinosaur of all. This made me want to read more about the Bone Wars and the actual scientists on which Cartland and Bolt were based. I appreciated how Rachel was portrayed most of all; she is smart, determined to prove herself in a "man's field", and does not possess a single romantic bone in her body. Sam, bless his heart, is thoroughly in love with her, but still sometimes falls victim to the restrictive gender norms of the time. Throw in social commentary on the conflict between the Native Americans and the destructive "new" Americans, and you have a recipe for a fun, thoughtful read. ( )
  kaylaraeintheway | Nov 18, 2016 |
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